High demand spurs Frankford Business Park – Delaware Business Times
Katie Tabeling April 15, 2022
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FRANKFORD — A rising business park in southeastern Sussex County has enough buzz without formally listing the space that developer Travis Martin believes his bet to push forward on the next phase of development will pay off.
The Frankford Business Park along U.S. Route 113, about halfway between Millsboro and Selbyville, has four buildings under construction, has 95,000 square feet already under roof but not quite ready to be leased out.
Two other buildings are erected but not complete, with walls to be installed and concrete floors yet to be poured. The first four buildings are targeted for completion by September 2022.
Overall, the site will have around eight buildings, with roughly 270,000 square feet in total space. Martin originally planned to go forward with the second phase of construction in the next two to three years, but demand has pushed his timeline up.
“We haven’t listed with a realtor or anything, all the interest is from word of mouth. We’ve got a list of 20 possible tenants, and it’s a matter of working out the space that’s not spoken for,” Martin told the Delaware Business Times. “It feels good.”
The Frankford Business Park was ignited partially because Martin was looking to move some of his own operations in-house. He owns Chesapeake Plumbing and Heating, which focuses on both residential and commercial plumbing services, including new construction.
There are three other companies under the Chesapeake name: Chesapeake Climate Control for heating and cooling service needs, Chesapeake Home Performance, which offers HVAC duct and dryer vent cleaning; and Chesapeake Fire Systems for fire sprinkler systems.
“We’re looking to move our fabrication for HVAC and plumbing parks in-house there, rather than continue working with a wholesaler and have it delivered,” Martin said. “The goal is to streamline our own processes, and there’ll be some efficiencies with labor and costs with that.”
The Frankford Business Park also fits his needs for more space, as Chesapeake Plumbing and Heating has been exponentially growing in the last decade. In 2020, the company had 20 employees and 20 subcontractors. Today, it has 280 employees, 500 subcontractors — and has made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies eight times.
With the new location, Martin hopes to add another 100 jobs in the next five years.
When it comes to future tenants of the Frankford Business Park, Martin is already in discussions to bring other companies and undisclosed manufacturers.
Martin was one of the recipients of the state’s Site Readiness Fund, and he will receive $1 million of a more than $2.3 million total project cost to complete civil engineering, site work and extension of a natural gas line to the site.
The Frankford Business Park will be tapping into Chesapeake Utilities natural gas for service and already receives city water and sewer.
“There’s maybe about 75,000 square feet unspoken for at this point, so it may be just a matter of going through the list and figuring out what works best,” he said.